Dutch authorities are reported to be considering bringing charges against a student who used images of the Auschwitz concentration camp in an internet clip advertising a spoof techno rave.

The Flash animation gives details of an electronic music festival called “Housewitz,” in apparent reference to “house” music. Images of the Auschwitz camp in Poland appear with the motif above the main gate changed from “Arbeit macht frei” (Work makes free) to “Tanzen macht frei” (Dance makes free).

The festival promises three days of non-stop partying in which “Seven million party people – set their bodies on fire – literally speaking – HA HA.” The dress code is specified as “Skinny Jew.”

Old photographs of the camp are shown with enticements such as “Hot showers (free),” “Gangbanging” and “Spend the night for free” superimposed.

Talked up

European Jewish News, a little-known Jewish news service based in Belgium, were busy talking up the affair and reported the story on 21 December 2005. The Rotterdam public prosecutor’s office said “The police have examined the content of the film and its producer has been questioned.”

“At the beginning of January [2006] our services should take a decision on a possible prosecution” said the spokesman, adding that the authorities will be examining the film to “check if its content is discriminatory.” If charged and convicted, its author could be jailed for up to a year. Discrimination is illegal in Holland.

The maker of the animation is said to be Dicky Thijssen, 23, a student from Brielle in the south-west of the country. Thijssen has “apologised extensively on the internet for the offence caused by his video” according to European Jewish News.

“I should never have done it. It was just a very, very bad joke. I couldn’t imagine how much people would be hurt. I’m very, very sorry and I will never do it again” Thijssen is reported to have said.

The clip lasts 1½ minutes and bears no credits nor a copyright notice.

EJN further revealed that the Dutch website had been contacted in August in attempts to have the clip taken off-line. However the blog moderator refused, saying “This clip shows how our educational system has failed.” Geenstijl (“Without Style”) reports on its website that the public prosecutor maintains that the animation contains “illegal elements.”

The hoax festival was advertised for the 4 May, the day set aside in Nederland to commemorate victims of war. EJN claims that the animation was “greeted with outrage by the Dutch justice ministry, the Auschwitz museum and the Polish foreign ministry.” However the images that appear in the clip are familiar, stock photographs of typhus victims and one forms part of a well known fake photomontage. Another Jewish organisation, the Centre for Information and Documentation Israel (CIDI) in Den Haag has also been active in trying to remove the clip from the internet.

Whether a prosecution can be brought for a 90-second internet animation obviously intended as a joke remains to be seen. Clearly the only “crime” committed has been treating the Chosenites’ Holiest of Holies as kitsch.

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